Today marks the end of the 2019 Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month. This post is probably going to be very introspective, and at times, hard on myself. Especially since I just watched like 23149 motivational speeches on YouTube.
I’ve relied on my smarts and a-little-above-average memory to succeed in high school. In high school, I didn’t need to work hard to achieve things and eventually attend my dream college. Brown was definitely harder because everyone was smart and capable, but I still managed to pull through and not work my butt off. Just to give you an idea, Brown’s grading system does not include pluses or minuses, so an A- gets rounded up to an A, and a B+ gets rounded down to a B. In my first organic chemistry class, I scored 601 points when 600 points was the grade cutoff for an A. Yes, I barely pulled through.
Now I’m in graduate school, pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience, and I was hit so hard by reality. Grad school does not center around passion; it requires a combination of passion and diligence/grit to succeed. I’m absolutely not used to this culture that demands hard work, and I’ve been struggling since I matriculated.
The truth is: I suck at working hard, and it’s something I’m still learning how to do. I was watching a motivational video on YouTube by a person named Eric Thomas, and one of the things he said really struck me. To paraphrase, Thomas said we always want guarantees made to us by other people, like 30-day money-back guarantees from stores. But we have never had the guts to make guarantees to ourselves. We’ve never demanded “money back” from ourselves when we fail, and we are not able to look in the mirror and say “You let you down,” and then demand an explanation from ourselves.
Thomas’s statement resonated with me because I have trouble looking in mirrors. All I see is an overweight boy who likes to blame everyone else for his own lack of commitment. I see someone who hasn’t yet developed the grit necessary to succeed in school and in life. I see a failure.
I genuinely want to do better and be better. I want to work hard and persevere. I want to live up to my fullest potential and then some. I do realize that Eric Thomas’s words sting, but it is precisely because of the pain that I know they’re true. I am also not expecting myself to pull a 180-degree turn overnight; change is slow, complicated, and effortful, which is why I am asking for encouragement as I work on improving myself physically and mentally. I don’t want people saying I’m fine just the way I am because I’ve made a commitment to bettering myself, and I would much prefer people being truthful than people trying to appease me.
I really hope you’ll help me out, and I look forward to a journey filled with self-improvement. I want to recognize a better person when I look into the mirror.